SANTA FE - Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Department of Health on Thursday announced that New Mexico K-12 public schools will close for three weeks beginning Monday, March 16, in response to the ongoing international novel coronavirus pandemic. The closure will begin at the end of the school day Friday, March 13.
As of Thursday evening, New Mexico has had six presumptive positive tests for COVID-19.
State Cabinet secretaries’ ongoing work of developing telework policies specific to their agencies will not be affected by this decision; state government services will remain in place at this time.
The governor’s office and state officials will send another notice with additional details following the news conference.
“This is a proactive measure to limit the potential community spread of COVID-19,” said Education Secretary Ryan Stewart. “We have seen other states take this measure after they have experienced community spread of this virus. New Mexico is going to be proactive and do everything we can to prevent the potential spread of the virus. I have been in communication with all of our superintendents about this proactive step, and we are all going to work together to address this public health challenge.”
“We are advising the public of this forthcoming announcement tonight so that parents and students can prepare for this upcoming change and begin to make arrangements,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We will be informing the public of additional measures that the state will be taking to ease the burden on families and educators and ensure that children continue to be fed and cared for.”
The Governor’s Office will accommodate all credentialed media to a point in order to take crowd size into consideration given state restrictions and guidance on large gatherings.
New Mexico Tech takes an extra week
New Mexico Tech President Stephen G. Wells announced Thursday that New Mexico Tech is extending its spring break through the week of March 23 in order to ensure a safe and healthy campus upon return of its students.
Classes are now scheduled to resume on Monday, March 30. The New Mexico Tech campus will remain open to students during spring break AND during this extension. Faculty and staff work schedules are not affected by this extension. This change in schedule will not affect the rest of the semester. Finals Week will still be May 1-6, and the commencement ceremony remains scheduled for May 9.
For clarification, NMT’s spring break begins Monday, March 16.